SAO PAULO: Corinthians have hit out at FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke’s warning that stadium construction work in Sao Paulo needs to “speed up” ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Sao Paulo is due to host six games during the tournament, including the opening match and one of the semi-finals, but construction chiefs at the city’s stadium said last week that a revamp of the venue would not be completed by December, as requested by FIFA.
“Don’t forget . . . . it’s not a threat, we can change all until the first minute of the ticket sales,” Valcke said, according to the Associated Press, during a visit to a new World Cup stadium in Brasilia that is set to host its first official match on Saturday. “So we can change the match schedule until August 1.”
“I think we have been clear,” Valcke said. “There will be no delay. No way that we can accept any delay for the World Cup 2014. Because as you will see for the World Cup we need a lot more time to install all the facilities for the media, for the hospitality, for all of what we need in order to deliver the World Cup.
“There will be a discussion with Sao Paulo about their stadium. We will have to sit down and see exactly what’s happening – and we told them already that they should speed up. Whatever it means for them, they have to speed up.”
The Sao Paulo stadium’s capacity for the World Cup is increasing by 20,000 seats to nearly 70,000. Odebrecht, the company responsible for construction work at the stadium, has said that the main 48,000-seat structure will be ready by December.
Stadium owners Corinthians have responded to Valcke’s comments by stating FIFA had agreed to give them an extra two months after work on the facility was delayed by bureaucratic difficulties.
“If FIFA understand that they have to move the venue for the opening game, then they can be our guests,” said the club, according to Reuters.
“The situation set out by Valcke today seems a bit strange to Corinthians as…the deadline was extended by Valcke himself until February 2014. The aim of Corinthians has always been to serve the city, the state and the country. That’s why the club increased the capacity of the stadium and we will not accept any type of pressure.”
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